Virtual appliance instructions

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Main Page > Virtual appliance instructions

Archivematica is distributed as a virtual appliance which integrates a number of software tools into one common virtual machine environment.

This allows it to be run on almost any workstation or server hardware without compromising the host machine's operating system or application software. At the same time, the virtual appliance is able to interact with any number of networked and/or external storage devices to allow for the flexible implementation of an archival storage and backup strategy.

  • See the software page for a full list of the tools used in each system release.
  • See the documentation page for instructions on how to use the virtual appliance to accomplish the system requirements.

Minimum hardware requirements

  • Processor: Intel core 2 or AMD Opteron
  • Memory: 512MB for the virtual appliance ('guest') operating system, i.e: if the 'host' operating system has 2GB available, 512MB needs to allocated to the 'guest'. Depending on the operating system, machines with less than 1.5GB total memory will likely have trouble running Archivematica. Note that the default allocation setting in Archivematica is 512MB; however, the more that is allocated the better the system will run. The setting can be changed once Archivematica is running.
  • Hard Drive space: a minimum of 3GB to test the system on a small scale (i.e. use the available test files or import a small set of test files); 12GB or more for larger implementations

Instructions for using the VM image

Install Sun Virtual Box

Download Archivematica

  • Download the latest version of the Archivematica appliance.
  • Unzip the Archivematica file. This should result in the following two files appearing in an Archivematica folder:
    • Archivematica-0.x.ovf
    • disk0.vmdk

Start Archivematica virtual appliance

  • Open the Sun VirtualBox virtual machine.
  • Click File > Import Appliance
  • Click Choose
  • Select Archivematica-0.x.ovf
  • Click Open
  • Click Next
  • Click Import
  • Read and agree to the Software License Agreement (GPL2)
  • The virtual box will open with Archivematica 0.x listed on the left-hand side. Select Archivematica 0.x and click Start (the green arrow in the menu).
  • The image should launch, showing you a Linux Ubuntu desktop and some of the digital preservation applications which are included in Archivematica 0.x
    • You may have to log in using the user name demo and the password demo.
    • If your mouse pointer does not appear to be working in the virtual machine, click the letter f while holding down the right-hand control button. Do the same thing to switch back to using your mouse pointer outside the virtual box.
  • Congratulations, you have a running copy of Archivematica! See Documentation for instructions on how to use the software.

Import files into virtual appliance (optional)

Creating shared folders allows you to add files to folders on the host machine and have them appear in folders in the virtual appliance. and vice versa. If you choose not to implement this option, you can use test files located in home/demo/testFiles to test Archivematica's functionality.

In this example, we create a folder called sendSIP on the host machine and link it to a folder called 1-receiveSIP in Archivematica.

1. Create a folder on the host machine and give it the name sendSIP.

  • Note the following naming constraints when setting up shared folders:
    • Do not use special characters or spaces in the folder name, since these will not be recognized by Linux;
    • Do not give the folder on the host machine the same name as the shared folder in Archivematica. This will cause the attempt to mount the shared folder (Step 3, below) to fail.

2. Set up the shared folder in VirtualBox

  • While Archivematica is open, go to Devices > Shared Folders in the VirtualBox menu (top-left corner of your screen)
  • Click on the "Add Share" icon on the right side of the window (the folder with the plus sign) and navigate to the folder you created in step 1.
  • Click OK to select the folder, then OK again to exit the Shared Folders window.

3. Create and Mount the shared folder in the VM

  • Open a command line interface in Ubuntu by selecting Applications > Accessories > Terminal.
  • Create the directory you want to share:
   demo@ubuntu:~$ mkdir /home/demo/Desktop/shared
  • Grant the demo account root privileges by typing "sudo -s", and give the demo account password when prompted (pressing Enter on your keyboard after each command):
   demo@ubuntu:~$ sudo -s
   [sudo] password for demo: demo
  • Mount the shared folder by using the following command:
   root@ubuntu:~# mount -t vboxsf -o rw,exec,uid=1000,gid=1000 sendSIP /home/demo/Desktop/shared
  • This connects the sendSIP folder on your host machine to the folder shared on the Archivematica desktop, and sets the permissions to add, modify and delete folders and files.
  • type "exit" to exit from your root login.
  • type "exit" to exit from your demo login and the command line interface.

You should now be able to see and manipulate the contents of both folders from within both the host environment and the guest Ubuntu environment.

Note that if you close Archivematica by sending the shutdown signal or powering off (as opposed to saving the machine state) you will need to re-mount the shared folder(s) when Ubuntu starts again. See "Turn off virtual machine", below.

Turn off virtual machine

  • At the end of your session, turn off the VirtualBox virtual machine by going to Machine > Close > and selecting one of the three shutdown options. It is best to choose either "Save the machine state" or "Send the shutdown signal". This is from the VirtualBox help manual:

3.4.3. Saving the state of the machine

When you click on the "Close" button of your virtual machine window (at the top right of the window, just like you would close any other window on your system) (or press the Host key together with "Q"), VirtualBox asks you whether you want to "save" or "power off" the VM.

The difference between these three options is crucial. They mean:

Save the machine state: With this option, VirtualBox "freezes" the virtual machine by completely saving its state to your local disk. When you later resume the VM (by again clicking the "Start" button in the VirtualBox main window), you will find that the VM continues exactly where it was left off. All your programs will still be open, and your computer resumes operation.

Saving the state of a virtual machine is thus in some ways similar to suspending a laptop computer (e.g. by closing its lid).

Send the shutdown signal. This will send an ACPI shutdown signal to the virtual machine, which has the same effect as if you had pressed the power button on a real computer. So long as a fairly modern operating system is installed and running in the VM, this should trigger a proper shutdown mechanism in the VM.

Power off the machine: With this option, VirtualBox also stops running the virtual machine, but without saving its state.

This is equivalent to pulling the power plug on a real computer without shutting it down properly. If you start the machine again after powering it off, your operating system will have to reboot completely and may begin a lengthy check of its (virtual) system disks.

As a result, this should not normally be done, since it can potentially cause data loss or an inconsistent state of the guest system on disk.

The "Discard" button in the main VirtualBox window discards a virtual machine's saved state. This has the same effect as powering it off, and the same warnings apply.